Ardour not playing Distortion Plugins

Ardour will play all the other plugins and sound effects but distortion. Is there a reason for this?

Guys how is this argument helping me? LOL Focus. I am running Tango Studio which is based on Debian. Is there possibly some configuration hiccup that happens with Debian?


I think I know what you are talking about and recently have seen this in a session, except in my case it was the Calf Vintage Delay and the OpenAV Della which did not work which are not distortion or saturation plugins. The plugin GUI’s load fine in the mixer strip however their DSP does nothing, I also curiously noted that the Calf Vintage Delay also did not automatically detect the session BPM like it normally would.

I have been using the same packaged versions of the Calf Plugins for several months on a great many sessions so I do not suspect the plugins are faulty (although there are reportedly some issues with the Calf Reverb). So far I have rolled back to Ardour 3.4 and if I open sessions created in Ardour 3.5.357 I can reproduce this however fresh sessions created in Ardour 3.4 don’t seem to have this issue and the plugins work as expected.

Unfortunately the version of Ardour on the machine that I’m seeing this on is not a debug build so I don’t have any concrete proof that the issue is solely caused by Ardour 3.5+ although it did not rear it’s ugly head until now, I’m very short on time but if possible will try a debug build ASAP to see what’s up with some guidance on IRC.

For the time being I’ve been able to continue working by substituting some plugins (ie where Calf Vintage Delay fails TAL Dub works etc.) it’s all a bit of trial and error right now, but perhaps you will find the same methodology will work for you. I’d highly suggest the Guitarix LV2 plugins for Saturation/Distortion another possibility is the recent OpenAV Satma plugin… surely they must be available for Tango Studio!?

Well, my point was that saturation is clipping. The terms used to be interchangeable before marketing departments got involved. Tape and transformer saturation are relatively soft forms of clipping and you can usually get away with more of those than you can with the hard saturation typically produced by an IC op amp.

Something I’ll add to the above is that tape and transformer saturation are both frequency dependent. The signal level at which a transformer saturates is proportional to frequency. A transformer that saturates at 10Vpk at 30Hz would require 100Vpk to saturate at 300Hz. Tape saturation level is inversely proportional to frequency, so high frequencies saturate at lower levels than low frequencies. An emulation plugin that doesn’t attempt to give similar frequency characteristics isn’t an accurate emulation.

All Saturation, Distortion and Overdrive do not bite that I have tried.

let us know which plugins you are trying.

I do remember trying a distortion plugin and it was, well terrible but i cant remember what plugin.

If you have a powerfull enough computer you can use guitarix for some pretty decent effects on guitars. i use it at 5ms latency and its pretty flawless, howver this is with no other plugins present. So if you already have a tasking project going, you may have to disable all plugins just to record.

Anyway list the plugins and ill test them out to see if i get the same behaviour, but it will most likely be a plugin problem rather than an ardour problem. if it works within another host, its still not nessesarily ardours fault, not all plugins are written to play nice in all sitiations.

there have had to be some changes to ardour to stop nasty things happening because of odd plugin behaviour, and lots of plugins have had to have bugfixes due to odd behaviour in certain situations.

Theres problems with a lack of standard with the linux format of plugins, some plugins are written with specific librariers, some systems may use older versions or newer versions. Ardour comes with some custom modded libraries due to bugs or features needed to get ardour to do what it needs to do.

Invada Tube Distortion. It only appears to raise the gain slightly. Calf Saturation same

Guitarix Distortion as I turn up distortion, volume goes down.

I have this problem in Rackarrack as well

simple solution, increase the output volume of distortion. its actually commen behaviour of pedals aswel. that you have to increaes the output volume of the effect.

ill check out that distortion.

As for saturation, thats not distortion. it emulates saturation which is different to distortion.

saturation in essence is distortion, though its different to the distortion and overdrive. But yes they all essentially are products of saturating a gain stage. or in tape. But saturation is usually not so noticable compared to overdrive and distortion effects. Until you saturate it to much.

The saturation plugin i tested didnt really seem to do much but it was doing s omething to the signal until i used to much and digital artifacts started to show.

The tape saturation plugins in mixbus are more noticable, giving a slight percieved increase in volume along with a little extra warmth and clarity until you over do it and it breaks up.

what im getting at, is that if using saturation it might not seem like its doing much, since not an agressive form of distortion.


Saturation produces a type of distortion.


Strictly speaking, what DAW users have come to describe as saturation is not actually saturation. True tape saturation sounds terrible (unless done deliberately for special effect), likewise transformer saturation. “Saturation” plugins typically emulate the relatively small amount of harmonic (and associated intermodulation) distortion produced by tape and analogue electronics as they get close to saturation but don’t actually reach it.

Yes just like when you start running desks with good anologue desks that have really good pre-amps in them.

There is 1 desk i know of that somehow wouldnt even distort badly when run into full clip, though i dont know if they calibrated the meters to show clip early, but ive had channels run into full clip without any nasty distortion. Sound craft serious 4 and 5 desk you could run seriously hot to get get that “hot” soundcraft channel sound. 1 night of metal bands i had the loudest guy on vocals i have ever heard. Even with my gain at 9 o’clock was going into 2 reds (+22db) and soling the channel the vu meters were full right with clip lights on solid. NOT BREAKING UP. such a good desk

The sound craaft 808B desk was similar however you would get more of a very soft compression running your channels hot on that desk though i think if you drove that channel into clip it would start breaking up.

Anyway i suppose it depends on the anologue equipment, but yeah i can see how digital plugins could not be quite what true saturation is like.

Its been such a long time since i actually used tape (20 years) but back then we would delibralty run channelos as “hot as you could” but you would need to order your channels in a specific way as you would also get track bleed.

Yes the Guitarix plugin is the savior. Thanks!